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Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Say What? Republicans Attack Hillary Clinton For Proposing to Cut Taxes for Middle Class

December 02, 2015

In a head-spinning new line of attack, Republicans this week are criticizing Hillary Clinton for the cost of her tax relief proposals to help the middle class. The Washington Post today is noting the strangeness of this criticism, since the Republican candidates for president are all proposing massive tax giveaways that are far more expensive and, unlike Clinton, they have no plan to pay for them.

Even Doug Holtz-Eakin, George W. Bush's former CBO director who is leading a conference call hosted by the Republican National Committee, has admitted that tax cuts do not pay for themselves, contrary to what Republicans have contended in the past.

In response to the RNC's criticism, the Clinton campaign released the following statement:

"It's strange, to say the least, to hear Republicans attacking Hillary Clinton for the cost of her tax cuts for American workers. By the RNC's logic, their own party's candidates have called for massive spending increases many times greater than what Clinton has proposed. The difference is, Hillary Clinton's tax relief is aimed at the middle class and will be fully paid for, while the Republican plans are aimed at the ultra-wealthy, and will add trillions of dollars to the debt."

Below is the Post report on the hypocritical nature of the Republicans' attack on Hillary Clinton's tax-cut proposals.

Washington Post: Republicans are criticizing Hillary Clinton for wanting to cut taxes

Hillary Clinton has proposed about $1 trillion in new government spending programs (over the next 10 years) so far in her campaign for president. That headline number isn't in dispute. It includes big new initiatives to expand child care and preschool access, reduce the cost of college and rebuild American infrastructure. The estimated costs of those programs add up to a bit over $1 trillion, and Republicans are already criticizing Clinton for that price tag.

In its most recent attack on that subject, though, the Republican National Committee goes further. It lumps Clinton's spending proposals with a series of (smaller) plans she has offered to reduce taxes, in the process of raising questions about her fiscal responsibility. "Clinton has yet to explain how she will pay for her proposals," the RNC writes, "except for vaguely worded promises of higher taxes."

It goes on to raise questions about several of Clinton's proposed tax credits, and also her support for repealing an Obamacare tax on so-called "Cadillac" health plans – a tax many Republicans also wish to scrap.

Clinton's campaign says she will pay for all her proposals, spending and tax cuts alike, and not add to the deficit. But she has not yet fully detailed how she'd do that.

That's also true, by the way, of many Republican candidates, who have offered aggressive tax-cutting plans that are projected to reduce tax receipts by trillions of dollars over a decade. Like Clinton, those Republicans usually say those losses will be offset, by a combination of (often undefined) spending cuts and increased economic growth.

By pairing Clinton's tax-cut proposals with her spending proposals, the RNC opened itself to the following attack from the Clinton campaign, as captured in a zingy back-and-forth on Twitter earlier this week:

National debt is approaching $19 trillion & @HillaryClinton wants to add $1 trillion in new spending on top of it: https://t.co/oh4ddoZ5ux— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) November 30, 2015

Hi, Jeb! By this definition of "spending," your plans cost 7x as much as hers. And unlike her, you dont pay for it! https://t.co/PoaKt37pBw— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) November 30, 2015

.@brianefallon Hi, Brian! Only liberals and Clintons think decreasing peoples tax burden is the same as spending their money!— Tim Miller (@Timodc) November 30, 2015

.@Timodc Actually @RNCResearch, whose oppo inspired your boss' tweet, does list tax cuts as "spending." Oops, Tim! https://t.co/3jlOe8uawJ— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) November 30, 2015

@brianefallon @Timodc Actually just $30B of over $1.1T can be viewed as a tax cut, still over $1T in new spending. More like Oops, Brian!— rajshah84 (@RajShah84) November 30, 2015

We asked RNC spokesman Sean Spicer this week if including tax cuts under a "spending" banner was a shift for Republicans, who traditionally chafe at the comparison.

"It's not a change for us at all — its using the Clinton method of analysis on herself," Spicer wrote in an email. "Clinton attacks GOP for tax cuts without plans to recoup revenue and/or cut spending to match it all the time, so these are programs she has no plan to pay for."

As some candidates are finding to their chagrin, voters don't seem to be too focused on fiscal accounting right now. That will probably change as the election progresses and attacks increase. It's a safe bet Democrats will keep complaining about tax cuts that aren't paid for. We'll see how long Republicans do it - or whether they'll stick with the sizable spending proposals by themselves.

Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton Campaign Press Release - Say What? Republicans Attack Hillary Clinton For Proposing to Cut Taxes for Middle Class Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/318894

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